3 arrested near Standing Rock pipeline site

Three people were arrested on Monday for trespassing along the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site, police said, where a fierce months-long demonstration has unfolded against the building of a multibillion-dollar pipeline.

Demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline have not ended

A Native American man leads a protest march with veterans and activists outside the Oceti Sakowin camp where "water protectors" continue to demonstrate against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline adjacent to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S., December 5, 2016. (Stephen Yang/Reuters)

Three people were arrested on Monday for trespassing along the Dakota Access Pipeline construction site, police said, where a fierce months-long demonstration has unfolded against the building of a multibillion-dollar pipeline.

The site of the $3.8-billion project in southern North Dakota had been the scene of demonstrations by Indigenous people and environmentalists, who say the pipeline would damage sacred lands and could pollute the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.

But in early December, the federal government denied a key easement needed to allow the pipeline to run under Lake Oahe, a reservoir formed by a dam on the Missouri River.

The demonstrators, who were taken into custody on Monday for criminal trespassing onto private property, inciting a riot and resisting arrest, were among about 200 people who demonstrated near the fenced-off Dakota Access Pipeline horizontal drill pad, the Morton County Sheriff Department said in a statement. 

Tear gas

The three unidentified people were accused of cutting security wire, removing fencing material and dismantled lights that are used to illuminate a bridge near the confluence of the Cannonball River and the Missouri River, the sheriff said.

There were reports on social media that police fired tear gas on protesters on Monday. Officials were not immediately available for comment.

A teepee is seen in the Oceti Sakowin camp during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Nov. 30, 2016. (Stephanie Keith/Reuters )
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who took office last month at the height of tensions surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline, said last week he believed the line would eventually be built and asked opponents to clean their camp before spring floodwaters create a potential ecological disaster.

Law enforcement has made a total of 589 arrests since Aug. 10, the sheriff said.